At the LibreOffice Conference, The Document Foundation issued a tender document looking for bids to develop an Android implementation of LibreOffice. Could this influx of money affect the ethics and work ethic of today’s open source community? It’s not actually the first time the community has experimented with bringing a LibreOffice editor to Android. The scale of the task however is enough to dampen volunteer enthusiasm and given the lack of commercial motivations for engagement, disappointing low volunteer turnout is not actually a great surprise.
When it comes to money, The Document Foundation is faced with the mixed blessing of having plenty available. In what way is that blessing mixed? As a charity the foundation is legally required to spend those funds over the course of the following year or so. With the clock moving swiftly on, The Document Foundation has already invested in development infrastructure for testing, the backing of community activities and the hiring of sys admin and administrative staff. There’s still a sizeable portion left over though. Knowing that spending in areas where the community is already intrinsically motivated might well reduce contributions, TDF has decided to focus remaining funds on development of the Android port, hoping to bootstrap a necessary new community in the process. Now it simply remains to be seen if anyone will bid to do the work!
Read Simon’s full coverage in his InfoWorld article.